Archive for the 'Seafood' Category

Clam Chowder

April 13, 2006

clam chowder

It seems that clams are in season right now. On Japanese television, clams feature in every cooking show right next to fresh bamboo shoots (I want to get one shoot to experiment, but they're so expensive!). Fresh spring potatoes and fresh onions are also appearing in super markets, but the weather is wet and uncomfortable for someone who loves to take her bike everywhere like me. So, I decided on clam chowder yesterday.

It was my first time cooking clams, so I had to look up the basics of handling them. Apparently, clams are fresh if they are tightly closed. About half of mine were open when I took them out of the refrigerator the same day I bought them, but when I tapped their shells, they closed again, indicating they were alive and fresh. To get the sand out of the shells, you're supposed to soak the clams in salt water, but clams from the supermarket are usually already clean.

When finished, the soup was lightly creamy and infused with clam juice (since I'd cooked the clams whole with the rest of the soup) and the flavors of roasted onions and butter. The clams were not chewy, the potatoes smooth in texture and the onion gentle in flavor. It was perfect for a rainy, unfavorable evening watching the fifth season of Sex and the City. Read the rest of this entry »


Home-style Tempura

March 9, 2006


Yesterday I got an e-mail in my cell phone early in the morning. I was still sleeping. Oh lord, I thought, as I opened my eyes enough to read the message. It was from my former host mother (aka Okasan). How nice! She was asking me to dinner that evening at their house. Did I want to help cook? What should we make? It didn’t take me long to decide I wanted tempura, because the large amounts of oil make it a little too dangerous to do alone in my tiny kitchen.

It turned out it was one of Okasan’s favorite dishes too. We made tons and tons, and Okasan commented that at a restaurant one only gets a tiny portion of tempura, maybe 3 or so pieces. We ate far far more. (Picture was taken post-consumption.) Read the rest of this entry »

Sesame Saba

February 25, 2006


This is a saba fish. Since I didn't eat so much fish before coming to Japan, I just had to look it up. This is a mackerel… and a beautiful one too. The picture doesn't quite show the colorful shimmer in its belly. It must have been plucked out of the sea that very morning. And I bought it… at a great fish store I discovered near Imamiya shrine just north of Kitaoji Street.* There were so many fish that looked incredibly fresh, at least 5 men preparing the fish behind the refridgerated display, and next to me a chef ordering 5 boxes of Aji (horse mackerel or saurel according to the dictionary). I felt proud of my purchase, even though I have no clue about selecting or preparing a whole fish. Does anyone have suggestions?! Read the rest of this entry »

Karei no umani

February 17, 2006

sweet boiled flatfish

Sweet-boiled flatfish

I've had a completely busy week during which I had absolutely no time to cook. None. I had no chance to try out my new cookbook, 'The Basics of Japanese Cuisine: Memorize by Proportions' (Wareai de oboeru wa no kihon) by Murata Yoshihiro, a popular writer of traditional Japanese cookbooks, who owns two restaurants in Kyoto, Kiku no I in Maruyama, which has been around for three generations, and Tsuyuan Kiku no I in Kiyamachi. (Mental note: Check them out!) Read the rest of this entry »